Good for the Medical Society of Sedgwick County for stepping up and agreeing to administer a $2.3 million federal grant aimed at reducing local rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Though the Sedgwick County Commission declined last month to have anything to do with the first $580,000 of the four-year grant, the comparatively high rates of diabetes and heart disease in the county justify the grant funding and special community focus. As noted in documents from the conservative Brownback administration’s Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which will distribute the money and support implementation: “Impressive achievements in population health are possible by reducing the prevalence of risk factors that underlie chronic disease and injury and by helping people actively manage their chronic conditions.” And in Wichita and the six other Kansas cities identified for their prevalence of disease, money spent promoting better health and wellness can end up saving tax dollars. Now the trick will be persuading the county commissioners to allow the county health department to participate in some way, along with the Medical Society, YMCA and other partners. – Rhonda Holman
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